‘Carbon footprint’ is a concept used to describe the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions (e.g, carbon dioxide) produced by individuals, corporations etc. The term itself is part of the broader ‘ecological footprint’ used to measure our impact on the environment. It is also one of the most popular concepts used in conversations on climate change.
In recent decades, brands have been pushed to do more to tackle climate change. Reducing carbon emissions has been a major priority for many businesses. This is not only beneficial for the environment but also profitable for the business itself. With that in mind, here are five ways to lessen the carbon footprint of your brand.
1. Switch to Renewable Energy
Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy. Their production releases several greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Needless to say, using fossil fuels to run your business will bump up your carbon footprint.
Switch to renewable energy sources as part of your business plan. Solar and wind energy are two great options that you can’t go wrong with.
2. Smart Lighting
Workplace lighting consumes a lot of power and drives up your electricity costs. Optimizing light energy consumption not only helps your business go green but also drives down expenses.
In the case of retail, stores can use energy-efficient options such as LED light bulbs and dimmable fixtures. This will help to bring down those steep carbon emissions. Another energy-efficient option is automatic sensors that switch off the lights when they are not needed.
Why stop at artificial lighting? Use the sun to light up your business! Natural lighting offers a smart, cost-effective way to lower your carbon footprint. Keep in mind that this path requires forethought and planning. Stores and factories must be designed from the ground up to allow sufficient light to enter the building.
3. Minimize Use of Transportation
Transportation may be the backbone of your business. But it also accounts for a good chunk of your carbon footprint. Studies show that cars, trucks etc. account for over a quarter of total annual greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more: transportation (i.e., fuel costs) may be driving up your business expenses.
Get your transportation costs and carbon emissions in check! Search for energy-efficient models (e.g., hybrid cars) while purchasing vehicles for the company. Secondly, limit unnecessary transportation, especially via roads and airways, for your business. The pandemic offers a great reason to reduce your footprint through virtual meetings and online training sessions! Lastly, minimize travel emissions as that can help reduce fuel usage.
4. Increase Energy Efficiency through Sustainable Practices
Lighting isn’t the only pain point making your business unsustainable. Brands can also decrease energy consumption within office spaces. Consider replacing your old equipment/inventory with newer energy-efficient models. Focus on old machines such as monitors, computers and printers: those devices love guzzling power!
Small workplace changes, however minor, can also go a long way to lowering your footprint. Simplify business operations by connecting desk equipment to power strips. Also, transitioning to digital records (i.e., creating a “paper-free” workplace) can reduce paper use. Lastly, investments in renewable energy (e.g, solar panels) can help the environment and improve long-term ROI for brands.
5. Reduce Waste
‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’: this famous mantra is not just for average consumers! Brands reducing their waste production go a long way to improving the environment. Consider using automated sorting systems in your business to reduce and recycle waste.
Avoid using products for your business that decay slowly. This is because these products release several greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In the case of the fashion world, brands should minimize use of synthetic fabrics such as polyester (which does not decay for years).